The private nature of online affairs may make them less painful for the betrayed partner as well.

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Thus, people may agree not to develop a relationship, permitting themselves only virtual one-night stands, or an uncommitted affair, or a promise with a partner to tell each other about each online affair.

As one woman in a committed relationship remarks about her online sexual affairs: "I've had this discussion with my boyfriend and we both agree that as long as it's not with the same person more than twice, it is really masturbation.

While there is no official handbook or rule guide, most dating apps operate more or less the same way.

You download the app, create a profile, add some of your favorite pictures, and write a short bio.

Generally, online affairs are easier to perform and put the agent in a less vulnerable position, as the chances of getting caught or being hurt in other ways are considerably reduced.

They are also perceived to involve a lesser degree of betrayal, as they involve more imaginary elements and the degree of neglecting the partner's interests may be lesser.

Time spent in that world can help them their actual world, while not giving up on having exciting, even emotional experiences.

Living within the two worlds is not easy, however, and may become increasingly risky when people do not realize the limitations of each.

Online sexual activity can involve various activities, such as viewing explicitly sexual materials, participating in an exchange of ideas about sex, exchanging sexual messages, and online interactions with at least one other person with the intention of becoming sexually aroused.

In his stimulating paper, "Chatting Is Not Cheating," John Portmann defends online lust and characterizes about sex; he maintains that such talking is more similar to flirting than to having a sexual affair.

Nevertheless, since online affairs are real they do often cause actual harm to one's primary, offline romantic relationship.